{7QuickTakes}Weekly mishmash: Vol. 11

Well, here we are approaching the last full week of October!  I can hardly believe it.  Time is flying so quickly.  Linking up with Kelly again for this week’s 7QTs.

~ONE~

My computer is boasting a sticky keyboard this week.  Thanks to Evvie kindly spilling my coffee all over it.  And I am too lazy to unscrew it and take the back off and clean inside it, so I am still using it while having to pressssssssssssssss (see?) really hard on some keys to make them work.  It’s an occupational hazard, I guess.

~TWO~

We went to a local corn maze extravaganza on Friday night.  The kids had a BLAST.  Hubby and I (who are more antisocial homebodies) tried to keep those completely fake smiles plastered in place while freezing our hinies off as the kids insisted on running in four different directions while we we kicked ourselves for not bringing more than one flashlight.

~THREE~

I had the opportunity to volunteer at my older kids’ school on Friday.  Since the public school system in Idaho is so poorly funded, classes like art and music have been cut.  In my town, the elementary schools greatly rely on parent volunteers to teach “FAME” or “Fine Arts Mini-Experience” once monthly so that kids can be exposed to art history and music appreciation.  I have been volunteering with this program for four years and I really enjoy teaching it.  I am always really impressed with how well-mannered and inquisitive the kids are.  One of the major highlights of this lesson (in which the art discussed was Grant Wood’s American Gothic) was showing the kids the different parodies that have been made of the artwork.  I think the overwhelming favorite was a Star Wars-themed one where the farmer traded his pitchfork for a light saber.

190741_4104701

courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago, artic.edu

~FOUR~

We babysat an 11-month-old baby girl yesterday.  She was sweet, but a big girl!  She was the same size as 21-month-old Evvie, and weighed much the same.  Evvie has always been at the low end of the size spectrum.  She’s growing, just seems to be petite.  It was interesting to watch Evvie interact with a younger baby.  Mostly she was just jealous because I was giving attention to another baby!   The parents sorely needed a break, Hubby works with the dad, and they are new to the area and don’t know a lot of people.  I sometimes forget how vital it is as a new-er mother to have other friends who are also traversing the journey of motherhood along with you.  It sounds like this mom is very lonely for other mom friends.  I am always so happy to recommend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) to moms looking for that kind of connection.  Just being able to check in a few times a month with other parents who have kids the same ages as yours and who can commiserate with the ups and downs of parenthood along with you is such a blessing.

~FIVE~

I recently had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer.  They caught it early and her prognosis looks good, but she will still be in the throws of chemo for the next several months.  She is young (36) and is married with two young girls.  I have offered to help with whatever she needs, and I know she has many other friends doing the same.  I have never had a friend go through this before, and am unsure what would be the most meaningful way to help.  Any suggestions from anyone who has been there?

~SIX~

One of the best things about having kids get a little older is that you can pass on chores to them that you do not relish doing.  Having Junior clean out my car this weekend was SO AWESOME!  Of course he is not as thorough as I would be, but he vacuumed.  He threw away trash.  He put little trash bags by everyone’s seats to encourage them to throw garbage in there instead of on the floor.  It warms a mother’s heart!

~SEVEN~

I recently discovered Overdrive from my library and have been having so much fun listening to audiobooks while I clean and do the dishes.  It makes those chores go soooooooo much faster.  I recently “read” (listened to?) the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier…started out as a read for a book club but then I really got into it, even though I am not usually into the young adult/fantasy genre.  But I absolutely loved the narrator.  I love when you get a good narrator who does all the voices believably.  The three books were a really good listen.  Now I am listening to Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler.

~~~

That’s all folks, Have a lovely week!

 

Advertisements

In the Land of Blahs: how to cure a tired routine

may-you-walk-a-lighted-pathI am really good in times of crisis.  Not that I am asking for one (kay, God, got that?) but I have observed that I wind up being resourceful, focused and disciplined when called upon if things get suddenly very bad, very fast.  When my dad had a heart attack.  When, at two separate times my children had to be hospitalized.  When hubby lost his job.  I think it is something about the immediacy, the necessity of a plan, the life-and-death sort of reality that is more concrete than abstract, if that makes sense.  There is one goal: to get through this.  Often there is one course of action – to just keep buggering on.  And I feel adept at that.

Where my resolve starts to falter and my focus and motivation leaves me is when the routine of daily life becomes so repetitive – so predictable – that each day seems more dull and difficult to find joy in than the last.  I don’t believe this is a problem unique to stay-at-home moms.  I know Hubby feels the same way about going to work, as I am sure most people do when the day-in-day-out tends to more repetitive than stimulating.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love my life.  I love my family.  I feel blessed and grateful that we live in such a safe and healthy environment where my children have enough to eat and the opportunity to go to school and extracurricular activities.  I have a roof over my head and don’t need to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from.  I certainly don’t take any of that for granted.

But lately, I have been feeling….I don’t know….Blah.  Part of it is probably the weather.  Part of it might be due to the fact that I pick up 10 million toys that are littered around the house about 15 times a day and it gets old.  I get tired of the routine of yelling at the kids to get their lesson stuff together and get into the car (a process that takes, at best, 30 minutes)  and then arriving at said lesson with one of them missing their shoes.  I get bored to death with having to cook dinner every night (fancy cuisine-preparing genius I am not) and change two sets of diapers on a regular basis, with an almost 2-year-old and almost 4-year-old (yes, he is resolutely not interested in using the potty!) fighting me every step of the way.  I groan at the end of the day when I see the dishes piled up still on the table (Hubby doesn’t get the memo that yes, on nights when I am running with Junior to karate, the dinner chores still need to be done).

On Monday, the younger two were taking turns whining and fighting with each other, while simultaneously following me around trying to bite me out of love (I guess?) and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I turned on Paw Patrol and locked myself in my office and researched lodging options for Europe.  For two hours.  It was as though after all the figurative trudging through the muck and mire of daily life I just needed a mind vacation.  The mind vacation of fantasizing about a real vacation.  A real vacation that I keep struggling with feeling OK about taking.  Needless to say, I feel like if I didn’t have that to look forward to, life would feel very bleak indeed.

Which leads me to try to come up with some other ways I can Fight the Blahs.  I can’t always be planning a trip.  (Or maybe I can, but I still need some other outlets!)

Learn Something New

I admit, I have a problem with this one.  I think it is because I have so many interests, yet once I start something, I lose motivation pretty quickly.  Especially if I get bogged down if I feel it is difficult or tedious.  I took up knitting a few winters ago because several friends were learning how to knit.  They all seemed to excel at it (rather quickly, silly overachievers!) and I was still struggling with how to count stitches while they were already on patterns.  They were knitting socks with circular needles while I only managed a lopsided pot holder.  So I guess the goal for me is to learn something new that might yield positive results right away and that I can learn at my own pace, which might be really slow.

Set a Goal

This ties in with Learn Something New.  It occurred to me that I haven’t actually set a goal in my life for a looooooong time.  And I am talking something realistic, not just “be the perfect wife and mother with zero stress and a supermodel body.”  Something attainable yet challenging.  Something to look forward to, not something to be viewed as an obligation.

Vary Routines

A lot of my day is set in stone, with the times and days of lessons being set.  But if I look at some pockets of time, I realize that I can vary what I do, and when.  The easiest thing to do is just to drive a different way to and from my destination.  I could drive by the river instead of through town.  I could leave a little earlier and take the scenic route.  Sometimes just a change of scenery can break you out of the Blahs.

Wear Pearls

Part of my frustration with my daily routines is that I don’t feel good.  I mean, I don’t really feel good about myself.  Going through daily life in yoga pants and a t-shirt might be comfortable, but it was not giving me the boost of confidence I think that would make my interactions with people more pleasant.  I read a blog posting a while back saying that stay-at-home moms should “dress for success” just like their working-mom counterparts.  Which is somewhat hard for me to stomach, when I spend the majority of my day cleaning up smushed floorbanana and poopy diapers and trying to avoid being used as human kleenex.  But maybe if I treat myself more “professionally”, my family might see me as less of a doormat and more of a woman worthy to be respected.  And that might make me respect myself more, too.  I am not talking dresses and heels or anything here; I am just thinking taking a little more time choosing what I wear and perhaps throwing on that string of pearls might be a positive boost for my day.

Practice Gratitude

One of my favorite books is Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.  She and her sister were very religious and were sent to a concentration camp during WWII for hiding Jews.    While Corrie found it hard to stomach the conditions they were living in, her sister reminded her of St. Paul’s admonition to “give thanks in all things”- even horrible things, like life in a concentration camp.  Corrie tells her sister, “I see what you’re saying, but how are we supposed to be grateful for the fleas and the lice that are infesting this cell block?”  Her sister didn’t have a good answer.  Earlier,  Corrie related a story of how she and her sister smuggled a Bible into the camp, somewhat miraculously.  With the Bible, they were able to encourage fellow prisoners to keep everyone’s spirits up.  Later on, they thought it was incredible that the Nazis had never come into the cell block to confiscate the Bible (and, most likely, enact a brutal punishment on the women for smuggling it in).  In fact, they never entered that cell block at all.  The reason?  The lice and fleas that Corrie was reluctant to give thanks for.  Their presence had been the reason God’s Word could still be heard in the most unlikely of places.

This story reminds me that, even in the doldrums of daily routine, there is plenty to be thankful for!

Deepen Spiritual Life

I find everything is easier to deal with when I am focused on the most important routine of all: spending time with God each day.  Of course most of the time I don’t make this a priority.   There is always something “more important” to do.  Housework, for example!  Chasing the kids!  It is hard to find time with these more pressing, immediate, concerns.  I think God gets that.  So I wait around for a quiet moment and try to get in a bit of Bible reading.  I find that sometimes I won’t even be thinking about it, but will feel a little nudge as though God is telling me, “Spend a little time with Me right now.”  And I try to listen.   I feel that by making Him a priority, I can more easily get the rest of my priorities in order.

And perhaps that is why “The Blahs” occur anyhow – they are a call to take stock of life and figure out what is really important, what is really necessary, and what really brings joy to one’s life.

I’d love to hear some other suggestions for how to Fight the Blahs!

 

 

 

 

 

{7 Quick Takes}Weekly Mishmash, Vol. 10

We’re into October…already?  with these 7 Quick Takes!  Log in to Kelly’s to see what everyone else is up to!

One.

It is Pumpkin Spice season!  I confess I am an addict of Starbucks’ PSL.  However, this is only the fault of my local grocery stores not selling Pumpkin Spice syrup.  Because if they did, I would be able to make my own at home.  But they don’t, so I can’t.  So if you find me running to Starbucks daily to get my fix, I blame it on Albertson’s.

psl_birthday_-_pumpkin_whip_2

Two.

If you are the parent of the children who live next door, I heartily apologize for what I am about to say.  Well, kind-of.  Your 5-year-old daughter rings our door bell at all hours of the evening.  Like especially during dinner time (and if we decide to “ignore it” she will continue to ring that bell six or seven more times) and 9 at night.  We don’t mind little Sophia coming over once in awhile, but us setting boundaries for her does not seem to be working.  If we say, “please come back later” – she will wait 5 minutes and ring our bell again.  If we say, “we are busy, please go home,” she asks us what we are doing that could be possibly more important than letting her play.  If we announce, “It is 8 and we are getting the kids ready for bed” she wants to know why our kids go to bed so early!  So, anyhow, Sophia’s parent, it would be nice if you could maybe talk to her about that.  Like maybe only let her come ring our doorbell between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 and maybe only on weekends?  Because I would definitely come over to talk to you, but your pit bull you leave chained up in your front yard seems to have taken a dislike to me, as it barks and growls angrily when I go get my mail and for some reason I am a little nervous!

Three.

School fundraisers.  Well, fundraisers in general.  I hate them!  And my elementary kids come home and give me the forms and give me a guilt trip about how they really really want to win that iPod or that trip or that pizza party if they sell the most.  So could I please please please help them achieve these goals?  I hate bugging my friends to buy stuff.  And my kids won’t bug my friends to buy stuff.  And I refuse to have Hubby take this stuff to work, it just seems weird to me.  So last year I just bought all the raffle tickets my kids were tasked with selling myself for the school carnival.  And surprisingly enough, Bellie ended up winning for “Top Seller” in her class.  I had to laugh.  This year I think I will just do the same thing, buy up $50 worth or so of raffle tickets and chalk it up to a donation.  I would so much rather donate than fundraise!

Four.

“Pretend” school update:  It is going rather well.  I think the main thing I have been focusing on is just to stay positive and not get too intense.  Also, being a little flexible about the schedule.  Spike thrives on a)storytime b)crafts and c)songs.  So I try to teach him his letters, his letter sounds, and a religious lesson while bookending it very strongly with stories, crafts, and songs.  Plus, today I decided to do the coloring pages I had earmarked for “C” along with him and that was surprisingly relaxing and fun!  Anyhow, we’ll just keep on keeping on with that.

Five.

This.

1339030657538_418598

Six.

You know when you are eating a graham cracker, and you love it so much you go “A-mmmm.  A-ummmm.”? And then you climb on the table, grab your sippy cup and say,”Tank-UUUU Mommy!”?  That’s just one of the fun things 1/4 of my kids do while I am trying to blog.

Seven.

Wake me when the election is over.  That is all.

 

Have a great week!